Sioux Falls Zoologists

"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!"

The mirror test is an experiment developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. to determine whether an animal possesses the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. It is the primary indicator of self-awareness in non-human animals and marks entrance to the mirror stage by human children in developmental psychology. Animals that pass the mirror test are: Humans older than 18 mo, Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, Gorillas, Bottlenose Dolphins, Orcas (Killer Whales), Elephants, and European Magpies. Others showing signs of self-awareness are Pigs, some Gibbons, Rhesus Macaques, Capuchin Monkeys, some Corvids (Crows & Ravens) and Pigeons w/training. (Sorry Kitty!)

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Vanishing of the Bees for
showing how the extinction of Honeybees poses a
serious threat to one-third of our food supply.

Vanishing of the Bees
Little Bee. Big Mystery.

Vanishing of the Bees (2011) - 87 minutes
Vanishing of the Bees at Amazon.com

Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives.

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon threatens the loss of much more than honey as we depend on honeybees to pollinate one third of the food on our tables. Vanishing of the Bees chronicles the innermost thoughts and feelings of beekeepers and scientists as they fight to preserve the honeybee and make it through another day.

Featuring experts like author Michael Pollan, the film also presents a platform of solutions, encouraging audiences to be the change they want to see in the world. This award-winning documentary examines that alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind an mother earth.

11-12-18 Can listening to bees help save them - and us?
Can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help save the world's bees? That's the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations. Bees are in trouble, but we're not quite sure why. It could be the overuse of insecticides; air pollution; warming temperatures; the varroa destructor mite; or even interference from electromagnetic radiation. Or it could be a combination of all these factors. But until we have more data, we won't know for sure. So the World Bee Project and IT firm Oracle are creating a global network of AI "smart hives" to give scientists real-time data into the relationships between bees and their environments. Up to six sensors will be mounted on hives, capturing the sound of the bees' buzzing, the movement of their feet and wings, the weight of their honey, the hive's humidity, as well as local weather and pollution levels. Sensors on beehives aren't new, but using AI and machine learning to analyse the data they collect should yield new insights, says John Abel, vice-president of cloud and technology at Oracle. "Sound is probably the most important data set," he says. "We convert it into a data feed and use this via machine learning to inform the beekeeper. And with Oracle Cloud we can get lots of data into it very quickly - we've got technology which is self-learning, self-tuning and self-patching, so it can automate what it needs to do." Oracle - which says the data will be owned by the World Bee Project - will use blockchain to verify that the data is coming from a particular hive and hasn't been tampered with. Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity at Reading University, says it can be quite hard with simple laboratory or field experiments to tease out what is affecting bees. "With AI and machine learning we can start to put together the signature of health and unhealthy hives," he says. "The holy grail would be to indentify early warning indicators of problems."

8-15-18 New pesticides 'may have risks for bees'
Attempts to find a new generation of pesticides to replace neonicotinoids have been dealt a potential blow. Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticide in the world, but had been linked to bee declines. Studies suggest a new type of pesticide seen as an alternative to the chemicals, which have been banned in many countries, may have similar risks. The new insecticides may reduce bumblebee reproduction in the wild, according to a study by UK scientists. The alternatives had been sought because of the evidence linking neonicotinoids to declines in bee populations - leading to the bans and restrictions on their use. A study, published in Nature journal, looked at how one of the new class, known as sulfoxaflor, impacts on healthy, wild bumblebees. Exposed bees had fewer offspring when released into the wild compared with unexposed bees. "Our results show that sulfoxaflor can have a negative impact on the reproductive output of bumblebee colonies under certain conditions," said study researcher Harry Siviter of Royal Holloway, University of London.

5-17-18 Bee crisis: EU court backs near-total neonicotinoids ban
The EU's top court has backed an almost complete EU-wide ban on the use of three insecticides, which studies have linked to declining bee populations. Chemicals giants Bayer and Syngenta had gone to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) hoping to get the restrictions on neonicotinoids overturned. Last month EU governments agreed to ban all use of three neonicotinoids outdoors. Seeds treated with them can still be used in greenhouses. Many honeybee colonies have collapsed. Scientific studies have found that the chemicals can disorientate bees, harming their ability to pollinate and return to hives. Some other factors - notably mites and fungus - have also been blamed for the widespread bee decline. The three neonicotinoids to be severely restricted in the EU are: clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. Currently they are widely used, but from next year farms will have to find alternatives.

3-22-18 How bees defend against some controversial insecticides
Researchers have discovered enzymes that can help resist some neonicotinoids. Honeybees and bumblebees have a way to resist toxic compounds in some widely used insecticides. These bees make enzymes that help the insects break down a type of neonicotinoid called thiacloprid, scientists report March 22 in Current Biology. Neonicotinoids have been linked to negative effects on bee health, such as difficulty reproducing in honeybees (SN: 7/26/16, p 16). But bees respond to different types of the insecticides in various ways. This finding could help scientists design versions of neonicotinoids that are less harmful to bees, the researchers say. Such work could have broad ramifications, says study coauthor Chris Bass, an applied entomologist at the University of Exeter in England. “Bees are hugely important to the pollination of crops and wild flowers and biodiversity in general.” Neonicotinoids are typically coated on seeds such as corn and sometimes sprayed on crops to protect the plants from insect pests. The chemicals are effective, but their use has been suspected to be involved in worrisome declines in numbers of wild pollinators (SN Online: 4/5/12).

2-28-18 Pesticides put bees at risk, European watchdog confirms
Most uses of insecticides known as neonicotinoids represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed. The use of neonicotinoids has been restricted in the European Union since 2013, following earlier risk assessments. Nations will discuss a European Commission proposal to extend the ban next month. Neonicotinoids are the world's most widely used insecticide. The new assessment considered more than 1,500 studies on the impacts of three neonicotinoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. "There is variability in the conclusions, due to factors such as the bee species, the intended use of the pesticide and the route of exposure," said Jose Tarazona, head of the European Food Safety Authority's pesticides unit. "Some low risks have been identified, but overall the risk to the three types of bees we have assessed is confirmed." The EU banned the use of the three chemicals on flowering crops - seen as most attractive to bees - almost five years ago in a move then opposed by the UK. The Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently reversed the government's position and said it would back a ban on non-flowering crops too, including wheat and sugar beet. A Defra spokesperson said the government had fully applied restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids introduced by the EU to date and, following an assessment by UK scientists, announced last November that it was in favour of further restrictions. "We always keep the evidence on neonicotinoids under review and will look in detail at today's report from the European Food Safety Authority," said the spokesperson.

1-17-18 The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved
The sudden disappearances of the previous decade have been dwarfed by other pollinator problems. It was one of the flashiest mysteries in the news about a decade ago — honeybee workers were vanishing fast for no clear reason. To this day, that puzzle has never been entirely solved, researchers acknowledge. And maybe it never will be. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, as the sudden mass honeybee losses were called, has faded in recent years as mysteriously as it began. It’s possible the disappearances could start up again, but meanwhile bees are facing other problems. CCD probably peaked around 2007 and faded since, says Jeff Pettis, who during the heights of national curiosity was running the Beltsville, Md., honeybee lab for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research wing. And five years have passed since Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who studies bee health at the University of Maryland in College Park, has seen a “credible case” of colony collapse.

12-14-17 Neonicotinoids at 'chronic levels' in UK rivers, study finds
Rivers across the country are "chronically polluted" with pesticides believed to pose a threat to bee populations, a report has found. The River Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border was found to have the highest levels of neonicotinoids in the UK. The River Wensum in Norwich, and the River Tame in the West Midlands were also named among the most polluted. A growing number of studies have linked the pesticides to problems for bees. According to figures from UK monitoring data by the European Environment Agency, 88% of sites in Britain were contaminated with neonicotinoids. The Angling Trust, the charity Buglife, and The Rivers Trust said eight rivers in England - including the Ouse, Somerhill Stream, Wyke Beck, Ancholme, and Sincil Dyke - exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits. The River Waveney's pollution limit was exceeded for a whole month, they said. The study said the three toxins of concern were imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are used in farming and waste water treatment plants. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, said: "We are devastated to discover that many British rivers have been heavily damaged by neonicotinoid insecticides. "It is vital that action is taken to ban these three toxins."

10-5-17 Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent
Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent
The discovery of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey means pollinating insects like bees regularly eat dangerous amounts of the pesticides. The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere. In 2013 the EU temporarily banned neonicotinoids on crops that attract bees, such as oilseed rape. In November, the European Food Safety Authority will decide if the evidence warrants a total ban. France has already announced one. Starting in 2012, a team led by Alex Aebi of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, asked travelling colleagues, friends and relatives to bring back honey when they went abroad. In three years they amassed 198 samples from every continent except Antarctica, and tested them for neonicotinoids. They found that three-quarters of the samples contained at least one of the five neonicotinoid pesticides. Of those, nearly half contained between two and five different neonicotinoids. Most worryingly, in 48 per cent of the contaminated samples, the neonicotinoids were at levels that exceeded the minimum dose known to cause “marked detrimental effects” in pollinators. “The situation is indeed bad for pollinators,” says Aebi.

10-5-17 Much of the world’s honey now contains bee-harming pesticides
Much of the world’s honey now contains bee-harming pesticides
Global survey finds neonicotinoids in three-fourths of samples. Neonicotinoid pesticides are turning up in honey on every continent with honeybees. The first global honey survey testing for these controversial nicotine-derived pesticides shows just how widely honeybees are exposed to the chemicals, which have been shown to affect the health of bees and other insects. Three out of four honey samples tested contained measurable levels of at least one of five common neonicotinoids, researchers report in the Oct. 6 Science. “On the global scale, the contamination is really striking,” says study coauthor Edward Mitchell, a soil biologist at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The pesticides are used on many kinds of crops grown in different climates, but traces of the chemicals showed up even in honey from remote islands with very little agriculture. “I used to think of neonicotinoids as being a [localized] problem next to a small set of crops,” says Amro Zayed, who studies bees at York University in Toronto and wasn’t involved in the research. These pesticides “are much more prevalent than I previously thought.”

10-5-17 Pesticides linked to bee deaths found in most honey samples
Pesticides linked to bee deaths found in most honey samples
A new study has found traces of neonicotinoid chemicals in 75% of honey samples from across the world. The scientists say that the levels of the widely used pesticide are far below the maximum permitted levels in food for humans. In one-third of the honey, the amount of the chemical found was enough to be detrimental to bees. Industry sources, though, dismissed the research, saying the study was too small to draw concrete conclusions. Neonicotinoids are considered to be the world's most widely used class of insecticides. These systemic chemicals can be added as a seed coating to many crops, reducing the need for spraying. They have generally been seen as being more beneficial for the environment than the older products that they have replaced. However, the impact of neonics on pollinators such as bees has long been a troubling subject for scientists around the world. Successive studies have shown a connection between the use of the products and a decline in both the numbers and health of bees. Earlier this year, the most comprehensive field study to date concluded that the pesticides harm honey bees and wild bees. This new study looks at the prevalence of neonicotinoids in 198 honey samples gathered on every continent (except Antarctica). The survey found at least one example of these chemicals in 75% of the honey, from all parts of the globe. Concentrations were highest in North America, Asia and Europe.

6-29-17 Large-scale study 'shows neonic pesticides harm bees'
Large-scale study 'shows neonic pesticides harm bees'
The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees. Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens. The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the "real-world" impacts of the pesticides. The results are published in Science. Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals. Prof Richard Pywell, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire, who carried out the research, told BBC News: "Our findings are a cause for serious concern. "We've shown for the first time negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seed dressings on honeybees and we've also shown similar negative effects on wild bees. "This is important because many crops globally are insect pollinated and without pollinators we would struggle to produce some foods." However, Bayer, a major producer of neonicotinoids which part-funded the study, said the findings were inconclusive and that it remained convinced the pesticides were not bad for bees. (Webmaster's comment: The same old coorporate bullshit. Deny. Deny. Deny. And keep the money rolling in!)

6-29-17 Strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are killing bees
Strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are killing bees
Studies in Europe and Canada show that controversial neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on reproduction of honeybees and wild bees. There can be little doubt now that the world’s most widely used insecticides are bad for bees. Two new studies add to the mountain of evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to pollinators, and add to the pressure for Europe, at least, to introduce a full ban. The European Union has had a temporary moratorium on using three major neonicotinoids on bee-attractive crops since 2013, though farmers can apply for emergency authorisation to keep using them. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is due to rule in November on whether to make the ban permanent, and legislators are already discussing whether to extend it to cover all uses outside greenhouses. One of the studies was the largest field trial to date, involving honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees at 33 oilseed rape sites in the UK, Germany and Hungary. The team were given a licence to use two banned neonicotinoid insecticides (NNIs), clothianidin and thiamethoxam. One of these, or no NNIs at all, was used at each site, with the allocation made at random. Even where no chemical was used, bees’ hives and nests contained NNI residues, including traces of the banned imidacloprid, which was not used in the study. This shows that all three chemicals have remained in the environment even after the moratorium. In wild bees, the study found a link between higher levels of NNI residues and negative effects on reproduction: fewer queens in bumblebee hives and fewer egg cells in solitary bee nests.

5-28-17 A third of America's honeybee colonies died in the last year
A third of America's honeybee colonies died in the last year
Beekeepers in the United States saw a third of their honeybee colonies die between April 2016 and April 2017, an annual survey finds. That sounds grim, but it's actually a slight improvement over similar assessments in the last decade, in which an average of 40 percent of the colonies died off annually. "I would stop short of calling this 'good' news," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland professor who is also a project director at the Bee Informed Partnership. "Colony loss of more than 30 percent over the entire year is high. It's hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses." Some of the dead colonies may be salvaged, but the process isn't easy. One bumblebee species was added to the federal Endangered Species List earlier this year, and steady decline of bee populations is a serious and widespread problem that is believed to be linked to pesticide use. "Bees are good indicators of the landscape as a whole," said Nathalie Steinhauer, who worked on the new survey. "To keep healthy bees, you need a good environment and you need your neighbors to keep healthy bees. Honeybee health is a community matter."

11-24-16 Health Canada proposes ban on pesticide linked to bee deaths
Health Canada proposes ban on pesticide linked to bee deaths
Canada's health regulator is planning to ban a controversial neonicotinoid pesticide, which it says has contaminated waterways and killed important aquatic insects. Health Canada wants to ban virtually all uses of the pesticide Imidacloprid. It said Imidacloprid poses risks to Canada's aquatic wildlife. Studies have linked neonicotinoid use to bee deaths around the world, although whether it is to blame for colony collapse is still being debated.

2-5-16 Spread of bee disease 'largely manmade'
Spread of bee disease 'largely manmade'
The global trade in bees is driving a pandemic that threatens hives and wild bees, UK scientists say. A deadly bee disease has spread worldwide through imports of infected honeybees, according to genetic evidence. Stricter controls are needed to protect bees from other emerging diseases. The virus together with the Varroa mite can kill-off whole hives, putting bee populations at risk.

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Vanishing of the Bees
Little Bee. Big Mystery.

Sioux Falls Zoologists endorse Vanishing of the Bees for
showing how the extinction of Honeybees poses a
serious threat to one-third of our food supply.